Listmas 2016: An Ode to Sidekicks

In this season of giving and good will towards all, it would only be fair for at least one Listmas list to give some attention to the oft under-appreciated sidekicks of gaming.  It can be easy for said sidekicks to get lost within the shadow of the more famed hero of the game, but that doesn’t mean they are any less important, for they are so often there to provide the hero with advice and support or, at the very least, give voice to those silent protagonists out there.  This is for you, sidekicks.

10: Tippi (Super Paper Mario): Let’s start this list off with Tippi, Mario’s Pixl companion in Super Paper Mario.  Not only does she give the famous plumber advice, but she also plays a huge role in the game’s plot, once we finally uncover her true identity, that is.  I always enjoyed watching Tippi’s personality develop as the game progresses, as well, into someone who is kind, but strong.

Screenshot by the Duck of Indeed
Screenshot by the Duck of Indeed

9: Issun (Okami): Issun is a tiny, yet arrogant, wandering artist that accompanies the white wolf, Amaterasu.  He is about an inch tall and can be found hopping about on Ammy’s head like some sort of flea, but don’t let his small size fool you.  Issun becomes a great friend as the game progresses, and his help is truly invaluable.  He’s the perfect proof that size doesn’t matter.

8: Wheatley and Potato GLaDOS (Portal 2): It’s not until Portal 2 that Chell gets her very own sidekick, two, in fact, though they’re not the most helpful.  Wheatley accompanies her throughout the first half of Portal 2, and while he is terribly dim-witted, at least he’s good for more than a few laughs.  Through a shocking twist, the second half of the game has us joined by GLaDOS herself, though she’s a lot less deadly now that she’s powered by a potato battery.  I can’t say a robot who had formerly put serious effort into killing me is really the best sidekick, but when you’re alone in a massive, abandoned facility, I don’t think you can really be too picky.

7: Mr. Drippy (Ni no Kuni): The Lord High Lord of the Fairies is a lesser well-known sidekick from the somewhat obscure Ni no Kuni.  This goofy, little creature is the companion to the game’s hero, Oliver, and his knowledge is vital in helping Oliver and his friends on their quest to stop the Dark Djinn.  The best thing about Mr. Drippy, however, is his personality and his strange manner of speaking.  Heck, mun, he’s flippin’ hilarious!  Tidy!

Screenshot from Flickr User: z3aya
Screenshot from Flickr User: z3aya

6: Daxter (Jak and Daxter): Daxter is the wise-cracking sidekick of former silent protagonist, Jak.  Daxter’s loud mouth more than makes up for his small size, and ever since his transformation into an ottsel, he spends much of his time hanging out on Jak’s shoulder.  Daxter isn’t the most useful companion out there, as he’s more around for comic relief, but he does get his own levels from time to time in Jak 2 and 3, and he even got his own spinoff game.

Screenshot from Flickr User: naughty_dog
Screenshot from Flickr User: naughty_dog

5: Yoshi (Super Mario Bros.): This list would certainly be incomplete without Yoshi, that green dinosaur who is always ready to help out a certain plumber.  Yoshi’s long tongue and unique abilities always made the stages in which he appeared a lot easier, and a lot more fun.  Plus, he’s simply adorable.

Image from Flickr User: Ben Cardy
Image from Flickr User: Ben Cardy

4: Midna (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess): Nearly every Zelda game has some sort of character to give Link advice, not to mention a voice.  Navi, Tatl, Fi…but my favorite by far is the Twilight Princess herself, Midna.  Like Fi, I never found Midna to be all that helpful, but her personality made her a great companion to have around.

Screenshot from Flickr User: Iddlynn
Screenshot from Flickr User: Iddlynn

3: Dixie Kong (Donkey Kong Country 2): I’m not sure if many would consider Dixie to be Diddy’s sidekick in DKC2, but considering her name’s not even in the title, I think it’s safe to label her as such.  Dixie was an awesome addition to the Kong family thanks to her ability to fly with her hair and her general cuteness.  Let her stand still for long enough and she’ll blow bubbles with her gum and drink from a juice box.  Aww!

Image from Flickr User: shadd1
Image from Flickr User: shadd1

2: Clank (Ratchet & Clank): Clank is a diminutive robot who brings a whole new level of accuracy to the phrase “I got your back”.  Clank is the logical, more responsible, member of the pair and is the brains to Ratchet’s, well, Ratchet is certainly not very brawny, but his vast arsenal of crazy guns certainly makes him the powerhouse of the two.  Nevertheless, where would the Lombax be without his tiny robotic ally?  Probably still stuck on Veldin.  Plus, Clank has a truly adorable laugh.

1: Kazooie (Banjo-Kazooie): You might say that Kazooie is not truly a sidekick, for she plays an equal role to her bear partner.  In all honesty, her abilities are often superior to his.  Nevertheless, considering we spend the entire first game technically playing as Banjo, I count Kazooie as the sidekick, though she might quite possibly the best sidekick of all time.  This bird’s sassy and has even been known to peck poor Banjo on the head if you leave them alone for too long, but their adventures against Gruntilda the witch would have been impossible without Kazooie’s ability to fly, talon trot, shoot eggs from her mouth…and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes, it seems Kazooie is so useful, I almost wonder if Banjo is simply there to carry her around….

Screenshot from Flickr User: Justin Taylor
Screenshot from Flickr User: Justin Taylor

The Duck, Sidekick to Her Cat, Elsa

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Pooky says:

    Good list! I was surprised to see Kazooie at #1 – not because she doesn’t deserve it, but just because she never gets included in these kinds of lists. You’re right. She rocks. Definitely one of the best sidekicks/heroes around!

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      When it comes to nearly any kind of list, something Banjo-Kazooie-related usually ends up at #1. The Banjo-Kazooie games are just that good. Kazooie was such a great character, and the sheer number of abilities she had was amazing. It’s a shame she was downgraded to wrench-carrier in Nuts and Bolts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pooky says:

        I never played Nuts and Bolts. Was it good? I couldn’t bring myself to try it out because it didn’t seem quite right haha.

        Like

      2. duckofindeed says:

        Nuts and Bolts would have been fine as a non-Banjo-Kazooie game, but it didn’t work as a Banjo-Kazooie game. They just got rid of too many of the elements that made the original games on the N64 great. They focused too much on cars and not enough on Banjo and Kazooie’s teamwork, which was quite a shame. Sigh, I’m not sure if anything will ever be able to match the brilliance of the first two games.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cary says:

    One of my most favorite sidekicks was my companion dog in Fable 2 and 3. (He was different in each game, but the same type of character in principle.) He was quiet, unless he needed to alert me to danger, and was great at following trails and digging up treasure! Plus, he was also good for some comic relief during stressful moments. There was a rough section in the second game where you had to decide whether or not to sacrifice your dog for the greater good (or some such). I played the game a couple times, and I could never do it. If I played the game I again today, I still don’t think I could.

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I’ve never played any of the Fable games, but I know that I could definitely never sacrifice the dog, either. (It was hard enough incinerating the Companion Cube in Portal.) I always have a soft spot for animals in games, even to the point that I felt terrible having to defend myself against this cat-like creature in Skyward Sword. They’re sweet during the day and vicious at night, and even though the creature attacked me first, it still took a while for me to forgive myself for fighting back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Midna is one of my favorite sidekicks… What about the dog from Fallout 3? You can make the whole story about your survival with your loyal pup 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      Ah, Fallout 3 is another game I’ve yet to play. All this talk of animal sidekicks, though, has me thinking of a game that was released recently called The Last Guardian. Your companion in that game is a massive griffin-like creature. I wonder how it would rank in the sidekick-o-meter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my goodness… The Last Guardian is finally out! haha
        I’m waiting for the price to come down a bit and the early reviews to come in but that looks like it’s going to be a good game with a great animal sidekick!

        Like

      2. duckofindeed says:

        I’m excited to get this game some time in the future, too, but right now I want Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and Yooka-Laylee just a bit more, so I’m saving my money for them right now. I think The Last Guardian is next on my list, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’ a good problem to have, isn’t it? Too many good games available!

        Like

  4. Hatm0nster says:

    I’ll second Kazooie for the number one spot! Though I think I’d put Midna at #2; she’s so cool!

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      Midna is indeed pretty cool. She’s definitely one of my favorite Zelda characters. She’s a big reason I was excited to play Twilight Princess because she looked interesting in the trailer.

      Liked by 1 person

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